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Updated 3:45 PM October 8, 2008
 

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Taubman announces new $22M gift to University

Just over one year ago, retail pioneer A. Alfred Taubman announced a $22 million gift to U-M to endow a new research institute aimed at understanding, treating and preventing human disease.

At the institute’s first symposium Oct. 9, he did it again – announcing that he will bequeath an additional $22 million for its endowment.

The surprise announcement came during a symposium on stem cells, the first major event held by the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.

“Over the past year, I’ve been impressed by the energy and ingenuity that the institute’s scientific teams have displayed,” Taubman says. “I hope this additional gift will ensure that this type of highly promising activity continues for decades to come at U-M.”

Although the new gift is a bequest, it eventually will be added to the existing endowment to help fund the research of future Taubman Scholars. Each scholar will be a top U-M scientist from the Medical School faculty, with new ones selected at regular intervals.

The first five Taubman Scholars, including Taubman Institute Director Dr. Eva Feldman, were named at the time of the institute’s founding. Each was selected for his or her remarkable creativity and research that holds the potential to significantly advance the development of a cure or preventive treatment for a human disease.

“We’re tremendously grateful for this visionary support, which will make possible the type of research that can only be done when scientists and their teams have true freedom to explore the most promising avenues and pursue the most tantalizing leads,” says Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs.

“Al Taubman’s generosity and commitment to the University allow us to deepen our commitment to improve the health and well-being of society. His faith in our research provides the difference that separates the University of Michigan from other institutions,” says President Mary Sue Coleman.

The five Taubman Scholars currently are receiving $200,000 per year for three years for their laboratory teams to use in the pursuit of new knowledge. The scholars also serve as advocates for research, by taking part in U-M efforts to educate the public about the importance of biomedical research, and of public and private support for such research. The stem cell symposium is among those efforts.

“In today’s climate of uncertain federal funding for science, especially for high-risk, high-reward research, it’s truly gratifying to have a donor like Al Taubman who understands the need and has both the foresight and means to fill that need,” says Medical School Dean Dr. James Woolliscroft.

Taubman, who attended U-M, has been one of the institution’s most generous supporters, with lifetime giving of more than $60 million. More than $56 million of that amount has been given as part of the University’s $2.5 billion Michigan Difference campaign, which concludes in November.

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